Novel targeted agents for gastric cancer

J Hematol Oncol. 2012 Jun 18;5:31. doi: 10.1186/1756-8722-5-31.


Contemporary advancements have had little impact on the treatment of gastric cancer (GC), the world's second highest cause of cancer death. Agents targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor mediated pathways have been a common topic of contemporary cancer research, including monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Trastuzumab is the first target agent evidencing improvements in overall survival in HER2-positive (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) gastric cancer patients. Agents targeting vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and other biological pathways are also undergoing clinical trials, with some marginally positive results. Effective targeted therapy requires patient selection based on predictive molecular biomarkers. Most phase III clinical trials are carried out without patient selection; therefore, it is hard to achieve personalized treatment and to monitor patient outcome individually. The trend for future clinical trials requires patient selection methods based on current understanding of GC biology with the application of biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents